The legacy of former Boise State associate athletic director and alum Lori Orr Hays (’83) is embodied in the memories she left behind; kindness and compassion towards students, a strong leader, supportive colleague, and a loving wife, mother, and friend. Although she died in 2013, her passion for her studies, Boise State and its students live on today in the form of a student scholarship.
A graduate of the communications program in 1983, Lori worked for a short time in radio but spent 28 years — the majority of her professional career — as the sports information director and assistant athletic director for Boise State Athletics.
“Lori was a people person. She loved people and would go out of her way to help colleagues, fans, coaches, and student-athletes,” said former colleague Anita Guerricabeitia, ’90, “Lori never knew a stranger. She cared and it showed in everything she did. A life-long learner, she loved academics and helping students achieve their goals. She was a mentor to many in athletic communications: a true, genuine, kind, caring person whose smile would warm your heart.”
Following her death, her husband James and sons Tim and Pat founded the Lori Orr Hays Memorial Scholarship Endowment at Boise State. James, a 1986 Boise State business graduate, said starting the memorial endowment at Boise State was natural because of how much of their lives revolved around the university.
“We spent a lot of time at Boise State while our children Tim and Pat grew up,” he said. “Boise State provided some incredible opportunities for all of us during Lori’s time working there.”
The Lori Orr Hays Memorial Scholarship Endowment supports students studying for careers in communications and media.
“She was also a student in the school of communications before working at the university, and as a student, things weren’t always easy for her financially — she worked her way through school as many students do,” Tim said. “Given her passion for the university, student life and her legacy at Boise State, I think she would be very happy to know she has a memorial scholarship providing a bit of financial support to students.”
Memorial scholarships are designed to honor the memory of a loved one in perpetuity. As another way to honor their mother’s legacy, Pat and Tim listed the scholarship as a gift option on their wedding registry when each of them and their brides were married.
“I hope that the scholarship will help to honor her legacy of helping other people and treating people with kindness,” Pat said. “I hope that students who receive the scholarship will take a minute to think about who the person was that the fund was named in memory of, and take an opportunity to realize how meaningful and impactful help can be.”
The family continues to support Boise State and their scholarship while encouraging others to contribute to the university that had a lasting mark on their lives.
“Not every student has the means to go to college, and for some, a scholarship is the only way that it makes it manageable,” James said. “Many students work full-time jobs or several part-time jobs to make it work. By supporting scholarships, you can make a difference in a student’s life by rewarding those who want to learn.”
“By supporting scholarships, you can make a difference in a student’s life by rewarding those who want to learn.”
— James Hays ’86